Have a listen to 'Relijan'
Talisman – Don’t Play With Fyah
Release Date: 17th March 2017
Sugar Shack Records
Most bands with a history that stretches back four decades are content to go through the motions, leaving their creative peak somewhere in the past, not Talisman. Talisman‘s new album ‘Don’t Play with Fyah’ is a reminder of the roots of reggae and ska, musically and topically, creating music that makes you want to dance while making you aware of social issues. Legendary musician, producer, engineer and all round British reggae genius Dennis Bovell (Matumbi, Steel Pulse, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Aswad, Madness) who has taken the songs to the next level and given us one of the most promising British reggae album in years.
The album kicks off with ‘Relijan’, a song that focuses on the division of people through different religious beliefs and values. It is a roots anthem with lyrics that resonate with contemporary relevance whilst the music has the timeless feel of the best seventies roots. Lyrical intent doesn’t let up as we start ‘Talkin’ Revolution’ which is encouraging people to fight against injustice and stand up for their rights instead of sucking it up and “walking with babylon”.
While topically the approach is rather “in your face” and somewhat direct, the musical approach couldn’t be more chilled and laid back. ‘She Look Like Reggae’ is a typical reggae number to make you sway, with calming steady beats and a ska stroke to match. Subtle brass melodies and dub siren linger in the background, not grabbing your attention too much like they might in most modern ska punk tracks.
The rest of this release follows in a similar relaxed approach and walks the line of trademark reggae hits. It’s catchy, it’s fun and enjoyable, ‘Hear No Evil’ is a perfect example of an uplifting atmosphere. Repetitive “Wookie wookie wookie oooh” lyrics is simplistic and a little silly, but it stands out. They are the sort of segments that would have hooked me in as a child. Not everything has to be serious, but they balance it out nicely as the song still carries a warning message. ‘Wheel and Come Again’ then stands out as the most upbeat and up-tempo track on the album to finish the album off, it’s certainly a track to get you moving.
In a special edition version of this album, every song as a dub equivalent, which is even more chilled out. Lyrics are thrown through delay and melodies are set on a loop and synth hooks have been layered on top. It’s a nice twist and just as enjoyable to listen to. Overal, ‘Don’t’ Play With Fyah’ has been a delight to listen to. A lot different to the usual ska punk I flood my ears with on a regular basis. It’s nice to go back to a style that influenced those bands.
For fans of: Tree House Fire, The Meditations, The Skints
Check out the video for ‘Relijan’ ‘Relijan’